Month: December 2007

My Book: It’s Up for Pre-Sale

Big day in the offices of Jen A. Miller. My book, The Jersey Shore, Atlantic City to Cape May: Great Destinations: A Complete Guide: Including the Wildwoods (Great Destinations) is now up for pre-sale on

It’s a bit surreal to see that considering the proof, with my marks, is still on my dining room table. But now if you ask me when you can buy your copy, there’s the answer. Of course, you won’t actually get the book until May, but it’s a start!

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Interview: James Lilliefors, author of Boardwalks: From Coney Island to California

Click on over to my “Down the Shore with Jen” blog for an interview with James Lilliefors, author of America’s Boardwalks: From Coney Island to California. It’s a fascinating book about, obviously, boardwalks, and it’s one of the better interviews I’ve had on the shore blog so far. Here’s a direct link.

Important note: while this book is big and glossy with beautiful pictures, it is not just a photo book. Lilliefors put together amazing histories of these boardwalks, and why they matter and how they change. I used it in researching The Jersey Shore, Atlantic City through Cape May: A Complete Guide and recommend it to anyone with a taste for shore history.

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Review: Oh the Humanity! by Jason Roeder

My review of Jason Roeder’s Oh the Humanity!, which was book 11 of 15, ran in Sunday’s St. Petersburg Times. Check it out here. A sample: “If you’re an avid reader, you might separate types of books by where you read them: books you read on an airplane, books you read on the beach, books you read to your kids before they go to bed. And then there are books you read in your second office, the one that has a sink. Jason Roeder’s Oh, the Humanity! is one of those books, best read in small bites over a long time.”

Can I even tell you how happy I am that my lovely editor let me use that intro? I didn’t think it would make the cut, but there it is: my way of saying, in a newspaper, that Oh the Humanity! makes a great bathroom book.

P.S. I was tempted to post a picture, a la “What Does a Reviewer Look Like,” of “What Does a Writer Who was Stuck in JFK for Four Hours When She Could Have Driven Home in Two Look Like,” but I don’t want to frighten you.

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Book 14 of 52: Helping Me Help Myself by Beth Lisick

As I’ve mentioned, I’m writing a newspaper article about what I’m calling, for now, “chatty” self help books — those “girlfriend’s guide to…” type things that make the ladies swoon. Here, they seem to say, is the answer to all your troubles! Do this, like I did, and your life will be forever changed! You’ll lose 10 pounds; find your mate; become CEO; never need to organize again….

And on, and on.

It’s not that I don’t think some self help books work, but I think it’s more difficult now than ever to find the gems among the crap because of a little idea called “get rich quick.” Everyone’s jumping into the guru game.

That’s why Beth Lisick’s Helping Me Help Myself: One Skeptic, Ten Self-Help Gurus, and a Year on the Brink of the Comfort Zone (to be published on January 2, 2008) was the perfect book for me to read on my trip from Philadelphia to Phoenix. Lisick, author of Everybody into the Pool : True Tales has the same guards-up approach to self helping but figured she could use some help herself. She she jumped into the self help pool for a year and […]

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What Does a Reviewer Look Like?

As I rifled through my backpack trying to figure out what would be my first book to read on this Arizona trip, I realized that my appearance was probably not what someone would suspect of a book reviewer who writes for two metro newspapers.

This is me in my wonderful, beautiful Arizona hotel room that has a view of both the 24-hour jacuzzi and mountains. I’m not very good with the mirror picture yet, so you’ll have to cut me some slack. I hope you’ll cut me even more, too, since I got up at 4:30am to catch my flight this morning, and didn’t get to Arizona until 11am EST.

When I whipped a stack of self help books out of my bag, the gentleman in the adjoining seat must have thought I was a sad sack case. There I was, traveling alone (I’m here for work — promise) in a disheveled get up made of too-big sweat pants, too-big t-shirt and too-big hoodie, my carry on bag a back pack that looks like it’s been in use since high school (all true, except for the sad sack part). The only company I brought was my iPod and self help […]

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Trains, Planes and Automobiles

Tomorrow I’m leaving for a short work trip. Since flights to and from Phoenix both involve layovers, I’ll be spending more than a few hours in the air and in airports (and that’s assuming that every flight is on time and hours don’t stretch into days — pray for me).

I went to college in Tampa, so I’m used to flying. I don’t like it, but it’s a necessary evil, and my routine helps. A stop at the airport bar for a pint (and one point only) is a good start, followed by a combination of sleep, my iPod and reading crappy magazines.

Not this time, though. First, my flight leaves at 7:15 am. I know bloody marys would be acceptable, but that’s way too early for me to start drinking. Plus, I have a lot of reading to do for work. Right now, I’m working on one newspaper book review, one magazine book review, and a newspaper article about self help books due, all before January 1. I have little choice but to take not one but a few books along.

Pictured is the stack of self help books I’m considering for the self help book article. The […]

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Book 13 of 52: Plug Your Book! Online Book Marketing for Authors by Steve Weber

As I mentioned in my last post, I got the idea to add the “Subscribe!” box to this blog (and my other blog) from Steve Weber’s Plug Your Book! Online Book Marketing for Authors, Book Publicity through Social Networking

Weber sent me this book a few months ago with the hopes that I’d review it for the American Society of Journalists and Authors newsletter. They’d already schedule a review by someone else, so I put the book on my shelf to read when I was ready to start using the web to promote my book, The Jersey Shore: Atlantic City to Cape May: A Complete Guide. And now that I’m done the book, let me tell you, I have a lot of new ideas.

I’m not an internet newbie. I understand the basics of HTML and had a rudimentary website when I was 15. For all my programming needs, though, I turn to my brother, Jim Miller. He designed my magazine writing website, which you can see here. He’s also designing a website for my book, and did the maps for the book as well. I write, he designs. It works out well.

I also […]

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If you’ll look to the toolbars to your left, you’ll notice that I’ve been moving the furniture around here at Book a Week With Jen. Why? To make room for the “Subscribe!” box.

If you’re like me, you can’t keep up with all your favorite blogs. Now you can subscribe to Book a Week with Jen by submitting your email address into that box. What happens? Every time I post on the blog, that post will be sent right to your inbox so you won’t miss out on any of the book reviewing fun.

Don’t worry — the only person who gets your email address is me, and I won’t share them with anyone. Promise. Plus, if you get bored with me, unsubscribing is a snap.

So go ahead and drop your email into the box. It’s much easier and eco-friendly than ansewring one of those million little white cards that fall out of magazines. Plus it’s free. And if you know anyone else who might be interested in following along, tell them to drop on by.

P.S. This tip comes from Plug Your Book! Online Book Marketing for Authors by Steve Weber. Expect a full review at some point on […]

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Interview: Lisa Rogak, author of A Boy Named Shel

Did you know that Shel Silverstein, author of The Giving Tree, Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic was a regular at the Playboy mansion? That he was the go to guy for musicians like Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash?

I didn’t. Read more about it in my interview with Lisa Rogak, author of A Boy Named Shel: The Life and Times of Shel Silverstein over at my “Down the Shore with Jen” blog.

If you’re just tuning in, I wrote a book about the South Jersey shore (it’s being published in May 2008). I also blog about the shore, so every Monday, I run a Q&A with a person of note who also happens to have a connection to the South Jersey shore.

Most of the people I’ve interviewed so far have been authors, both because of my connections in publishing and because so many have reached out to me, asking to be part of the series. So check it out!

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Review: Smart Girls Like Me by Diane Vadino

My review of Smart Girls Like Me by Diane Valdino, book 7 of 52, ran in today’s St. Petersburg Times. You can read that here.

How different are the print and blog reviews? Let’s take a look:

Newspaper review: “Twentysomething works at a fashion publication. Has terrible boss, terrible living situation, boy troubles and little to no fashion sense. Sound familiar? But Diane Vadino’s Smart Girls Like Me is nothing like The Devil Wears Prada. It is not a zingy trip through the fashion world (as is the movie) or a dull, whiny recount of one annoying woman’s inner monologue (as is the book) but a smart debut novel about a young woman painfully growing into her adult skin.”

Blog review: “Smart Girls Like Me by Diane Vadino is the perfect example of a book that I judged by it’s cover. It’s pink, and the cover image, as you can see, is of a rack of clothes. Even the jacket copy wasn’t too promising — 24-year old who works at a fashion magazine afraid of 1999 turning to 2000. Boy trouble. Wedding trouble. Drugs, sex and rock and roll. Yawn. If it looks like chick […]

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